Gia's List: The 6 Most-Abused Anime Protagonists

by Gia Manry, Nov 5th 2011

6. Watanuki Kimihiro (xxxHOLiC)

Orphaned high schooler Watanuki has a tough life, able to see and constantly followed around and bothered by spirits who make trouble for him. As if that isn't enough, a "chance" (or not-so-chance) meeting with witch and paranormal retailer Yuko Ichihara results in Watanuki becoming her indentured servant in exchange for the removal of his spirit problem...but he doesn't get the cure until he's done the work. As the story carries on, it turns out that there's a great deal more to Watanuki than first appears, but in the mean time, Yuko is happy to have someone around who she can make cook, clean, or perform other duties beneath her dignity, and that she can occasionally humiliate for fun or profit.

5. Saito (Zero no Tsukaima)
Typically in anime, abuse of male characters by females is played for laughs or at least overlooked, but the relationship between Zero no Tsukaima's closet bondage queen Louise and her familiar, weapon-wielding and skirt-chasing Saito, managed to give some fans pause. It's not just that Louise beats him...it's that she beats him with a riding crop. She also makes him sleep on straw on the floor and refers to him as her "dog." In a hentai it would be hot; in this ecchi fantasy/drama/comedy it's...well, heat is in the eye of the beholder. Saito could be said to deserve this treatement, since it usually comes as the result of his chasing other ladies or saying something insensitive to Louise (usually about her small chest), but even the other characters comment occasionally on her harshness.

4. Ataru Moroboshi (Urusei Yatsura)
Even though the show is now over 30 years old, the debate is ongoing: does Ataru really deserve all of the physical pain that is inflicted upon him? Ataru is lazy, gluttonous, greedy, and will hit on just about anything with curves despite already having unexplained affection from both the schoolgirl next door, Shinobu, and the exotic bikini-clad alien Lum. He is a jerk, and every time he seems to show a kinder side, it turns out to be the result of one of his less lofty qualities. On the other hand, the amount of abuse he suffers is impressive: most famously, Lum zaps him with lightning when in a jealous rage. Ataru never dies, but there's clearly a lot of pain involved...although not enough to convince him to actually stop doing stupid things. Is it enough or too much?

3. Keitaro Urashima (Love Hina)
It's the one, the only, the prototype: Keitaro, master of the accidental peep, the stumbling boob-grab, and the failure to know just who is in the hot spring when he wanders in. Love or hate Love Hina, there's a strange dichotomy in the fact that (nearly) all of the girls think Keitaro is a horrendous pervert who will stop at nothing for an unsolicited peep or fondle, and yet they also all generally fall for him. You'd have to assume they just started to like beating him up as the series continues. It also becomes a running gag throughout the show that Keitaro must be immortal, because no matter how hard he's hit, how far he falls, or what strange plot machination he suffers, he continues to live and thrive.

2. Hayate Ayasaki (Hayate the Combat Butler)
Who can top Keitaro? Well, you'd have to give it to Hayate: he's had exactly one stroke of fortune in his life— attracting the attention of the excessively wealthy and spoiled Nagi Sanzenin —and even that's debatable. Hayate is a cheerful, hard-working do-gooder whose parents abandoned him to flee their gambling debts to the mob. Hayate (who was already working multiple jobs to help pay the bills) attempts to perform one evil act: kidnapping a wealthy girl and holding her for ransom. Instead, he winds up as her butler after she pays the mob off...but although his surroundings have become more lush, Hayate still suffers from the jealousy of his various female companions, the arrival of evil robots, demons, mafia dons, other butlers, giant cockroaches, crossplay fangirls...well, you get the idea.

1. Sakura Kusakabe (Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan)
You have to imagine how Masaki Okayu originally pitched the light novel series that would eventually become an infamously violent television anime: "So this angel goes back in time to stop a future pedophile, Sakura, from developing immortality while trying to keep women from aging past 12. The angel decides not to kill him but to try and keep him too distracted to develop the technology...except that she keeps accidentally killing him anyway." Such is the plot of Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan, and her spiked-club-to-the-head technique is all the more tragic because 14-year-old Sakura is not a pedophile. Yet, anyway. As it happens, Sakura isn't Dokuro's only target, but he is her most frequent one, and often due to circumstances out of his control. It may not be the most creative use of this trope, but it's certainly the bloodiest.

Each list is accompanied by a new reader poll, as well as the results from last week's poll.

The new poll: Futuristic anime sometimes include fictional drugs to showcase the state of humanity in their particular visions, but some of the intended and side effects of these drugs just seem ridiculous. Which do you think is the worst? Let us know and check back next week for the results!

The previous poll: Last week we asked you which anime military you'd most want to enlist in. The competition was fierce, but Gurren Lagann's mech-loving Dai Gurren Lagann won out with 28.9% of the votes while Fullmetal Alchemist's Amestris State Military took second with 27.8%. Way back in third place is the character-filled United Planets Space Force from Irresponsible Captain Tylor.

  • Dai Gurren-Dan (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann) - 28.9%
  • Amestris State Military (Fullmetal Alchemist) - 27.8%
  • United Planets Space Force (Irresponsible Captain Tylor) - 7.6%
  • Earth Federation Forces (Gundam) - 5.8%
  • Library Team Defense Force (Toshokan Sensō) - 5.7%
  • Britannian Armed Forces (Code Geass) - 5.7%
  • New United Nations Military (Macross Frontier) - 5.2%
  • Zeon Space Attack Force (Gundam) - 4.8%
  • Anatoray Military (Last Exile) - 4.7%
  • Earth Space Forces (Martian Successor Nadesico) - 3.9%

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